David Sell

A group of Queensland Men’s ‘shedders’ has swapped wood lathes for workbooks, in an effort to reduce their risk of chronic disease.

The Men’s Shed Ashgrove-The Gap partnered with My health for life to pilot a free health coaching initiative.

Diabetes Australia’s  Queensland Chief Executive, Adjunct Professor Sue Hawes said 13 ‘shedders’ signed up for the three-month initiative, designed specifically for the group.

‘We know men are less likely to seek medical help than women and we have fewer men signed up to our initiatives,’ Sue said.

‘So, we needed to find a way to engage men with health prevention activities that will support them to make positive healthy lifestyle changes.

‘By engaging the group in the development of the health coaching initiative and taking the initiative to them, we had great engagement.’

Creating healthier habits takes small steps, and it starts with helping individuals to understand why change is important to them, Sue said.

‘We are so pleased for the men from the Ashgrove -The Gap Men’s Shed for completing My health for life and prioritising their health,’ she said.

The Queensland Men’s Shed Association Regional Coordinator Frank Pearce hailed the pilot a success.

‘We have a responsibility to get as much health promotion and health activities happening in Men’s Sheds across Queensland,’ he said. ‘I think this is a great program, given its flexibility, to be able to push out to the different sheds across Queensland. We have 240 sheds and we’re always looking for initiatives that will help people get healthier and introduce behaviour changes to improve health outcomes.’

My health for life graduate and Shed Wellness Officer David Sell said adapting the initiative to the demographic was key to its success.

‘There was a keenness and flexibility by My health for life to make this work by adapting and changing the structure of the sessions to suit the environment. I am definitely keen to run this again for our men,’ he said.

‘Personally, My health for life reinforced what I knew but also prompted me to pick up the weights and add some weight bearing exercises to my routine – live stronger, live longer.’

As a graduate, Jan Elliott said the initiative ‘reinforced what I’ve been doing – eating properly, losing weight, not drinking’.

‘And the changes they suggest are not major – they are simple changes to help modify habits you’ve developed over many years, like having a 20g steak instead of a 40g steak,’ he said. If your organisation would like to work with My health for life to support your community make healthier choices and create healthier habits visit the website www.myhealthforlife.com.au, email info@myhealthforlife.com.au or call 13 74 75.